|ABC News: 27-Hour Surgery Rids Girl of Extra Limbs|
Girl Born With 4 Arms, 4 Legs Has Successful Surgery
When I first saw the advertisement for the upcoming documentary on this young girl, I was tempted to consider it some kind of gag put upon the viewers. Then, almost immediately, I remembered that I was watching the "National Geographic Channel" and they are not usually up to such shenanigans. I was so completely intrigued by the story that I immediately did a web search to gather more information and, I must admit, to gain additional assurance I was not having my leg pulled. My search resulted in many articles, including the one linked above.
Apparently, the young girl suffers from a condition in which she is a conjoined twin whose other "self" stopped developing within the womb. Strangely, upon reading the exact nature of her condition I was not as intrigued as when I mistakingly thought her condition may have been the result of genetic mutation. It seems I may have been hoping for some "X-men" fantasy future. Still, just as quickly as my interest had waned, it was peaked again. The child underwent 27 hours to remove the "extra" limbs and organs. It struck me that the "extra" body parts must have been living seeing (from the picture) as they had apparently grown as the child aged. This triggered another thought. The other twin (that was absorbed) must have had what many would call a soul, if one is to go with contemporary Christian thought on when a human being comes into existence as the result of a soul entering the body. If this happens at conception, then the question arises, "does a fertilized egg that will eventually split , leading to twins, have one soul or two?" If it has one, then at what point does the second soul enter? at the point the egg starts to split? once the division is completely accomplished? If one indicates the former, then which soul came first and does that soul have some kind of claim over the other's body seeing as it originally belong to the original soul? If the latter is true, then are conjoined twins one soul since complete division never occurred? I think any observer of living conjoined twins would say no. I also imagine that each of the twins would have something to say about that as well.
So that brings me to what most intrigues me about this young girl. I assume that there must have been two souls at some point due to what we typically consider two separate entities developing, despite sharing one body. However, according to doctors, at some point one of the twins stopped developing. When that happened, did one of the souls leave the body? If so, which one and why? The body was obviously still living. There would be no reason for one of the souls to leave the flesh as it maintained all the necessary organs to continue living. The was a heart to pump blood, lungs to provide oxygen, and a brain to control all the bodily functions. So, is it possible that the young girl's body is inhabited by two souls? I don't think it is beyond reason, although I think it's implications may prove disturbing to religious doctrine. Maybe this is one explanation for tales of possession (I jest). One might argue that each "body" retained it's original soul. This begs the question, by removing the "extra" body parts, were the doctors killing another living being, and committing a sin by denying the soul the body it rightfully deserved as dictated by God (aka murder)?
I would have to assume that the "religious-right" would have no choice but to argue that the doctor's were indeed committing murder based on the premise that both bodies maintained a separate soul. If this were not the case, they would ave a difficult time, I assume, arguing that the living body of one twin did not have a soul and/or that the other twin had two souls. For a living human body to not have a soul would seemingly conflict with the Christian-right's assertion that the soul enters the body at conception and departs at death (did someone mention Terri Schiavo?). Further, if a body can have more than one soul, what existential questions does that raise? Am I really me? Is one of my potentially unlimited souls more responsible for my actions than any other (Scientology anyone)? I imagine that some at this point may bring up the multiple personality disorder theory as supporting evidence for the unlimited inhabiting souls concept. The problem with that is using something that cannot be proven to exist to prove the existence of something that cannot be known. The questions stemming from this little girl are truly astounding. Now, if only the answers came as easily as the questions.
This blog post was originally posted by this author at From Satori To Nirvana on June 8, 2008.